Imagine this; you’re living your dream. You wake up with a view overlooking the city. You check your schedule, an AM radio interview, then nothing but studio work the rest of your day.
You’ve made it. You’re a full-time musician.
Seems impossible, right?
Not really – but it isn’t easy.
It can be hard to know where to start. None of it is possible without a vision of what a life like that might look like. You can hope things will fall into your lap, however, the likelihood for someone to pick you out of a crowd and hand you the keys to your dream life is little to none.
You have to have a plan, a vision.
It’s going to come with initial hardships, but you don’t have an option. Either remain the same with gifts untapped or do the work and go all in in the direction of your passion!
Forging the Path
I’m Iman Tucker, an Indianapolis-based DJ, and entrepreneur. I’ve spent the last 8 years building businesses, creating brands, and traveling the country doing what I love: performing as a DJ. I had the blessing of playing on behalf of the NBA, NFL, and Nike, and was recently named the official gameday DJ of the Indiana Hoosiers Basketball team and the Indiana Pacers.
Our team built a six-figure business out of leveraging what started as a hobby and blossomed into a clear path. The crazy part? I have no formal musical training. We had a plan and executed it consistently over a few years.
You can too. Keep reading to see how our experience led to these takeaways that might work for you as well.
Disclaimer: these are personal experiences, none of which will guarantee success – but I’m confident it’ll get you much closer than inaction.
Realize your 9-5 is a privilege
Your JOB is a blessing. It may not be ideal, but it’s 100% on you how you choose to approach the position. You can loathe each part and complain or you can approach with a mindset of gratitude. Use your current job as a stepping stone to what’s next.
Practice skills you want to develop in the business side of music within your current job. A music career is impossible without a business component. Maybe your current job requires marketing help. Don’t wait around and ask for permission. Go ahead and design graphics or marketing material that will sharpen your skills. You might need to create marketing materials for your music career early on.
Start talking to clients and working on sales skills – a strategic way of communicating. It may pay dividends in the future with your ability to talk in interviews or when booking gigs as a full-time musician.
Gratitude is a huge component of the success of music. Start practicing gratitude by recognizing your 9-5 as a benefit for what is to come.
Stack your money – write out how much you need
A music career is impossible without a proper financial strategy. You have bills to pay and a life to live! But so does your music career. Between marketing costs, production fees, and equipment needs, a music career is not cheap. It requires money but it is possible if you know where you’re going.
Write out all of your current expenses, take inventory of what is there, what can be cut out, and what needs to be added to pursue music full-time.
Then, stack your money! Set a timeline for how much money you need to save up. I would recommend 3-6 months of the monthly amount planned for the duration of your transition. Within that window, the momentum garnered can begin to relieve the pressure of income.
You might have to spend a season working two jobs to save up enough money to confidently walk away from your 9-5. Your music career might have to start as part-time work. That’s okay, just be sure it does not stay that way if you want to pursue music full-time.
Build a community around your passion
You can’t do this alone. You need to have a community you can build with and count on. Those friends from the good ole days might not be cutting it. Pursuing your passion for music will require many sacrifices. Your community might have to be one of them. Instead of sacrificing your social life entirely, begin to build it around the type of people and type of events that will position your passion.
You know the saying, “you are who you surround yourself with.” What if that was other musicians, producers, DJs, business minds, and creatives? At some point, your passion has to begin to integrate with your life.
Hang out at the venues you want to play at, connect with any and everyone, and lead with value. Spend your money in the spaces you want to be a part of. Become a regular at local shops so you can build a community within your space that is interested in what you’re working on. Before you know it your friends become your organic promo team.
Invest in yourself!
The biggest investment you can make is in yourself. You can spend years teaching yourself, but at what cost? The most expensive ticket: your time.
You don’t have time to waste, you have an impact to be made. We found success much faster because we were always quick to invest in ourselves. A course on branding yourself as a musician might cost $2,500, but what if that one course landed you the knowledge needed to lock in a 7-figure deal?
Pay for the media, pay for the mixing and mastering, and approach your dreams seriously! The music landscape is more saturated than ever and it’s going to cost a to stand out… a lot. The startup costs might feel high – that’s okay.
No money to invest yet? Invest your free time into all of the free resources online whether it be through YouTube. Instead of mindless social media scrolls, watch some videos that will teach you something. Get into the habit of investing your money as well as your time.
In a short period, you’ll find yourself miles beyond where you started.
- Realize your 9-5 is a stepping stone to something bigger
- Save your money – create a vision!
- Build a community around the type of life you want to live
- You should always be your first investment
My life is built around my passion: music, creativity, and excellence. We took sacrifices and invested in our dreams. Now I am living my dream as a performing DJ. It takes a lot of sacrifices, a lot of long nights, and early mornings. The one consistent thing is that it was worth it. I wouldn’t change what we put into the game for anything.
Now, it’s your turn.
Iman Tucker a proud member of Believe Brand Co.
Follow me on IG: @Iman_Tucker
SHOP APPAREL: https://believebrandco.com
DJ SITE: https://believebrandent.com